First-Year Engineering Projects » Design Project Themes
Below are examples of past open-ended design projects, which change, depending on the professors. The learning experience that you have with any of the projects is more important than the specific design project.
Rube Goldberg Contraptions - Your team designs and builds a --Rube Goldberg-- machine, which is a unique device that performs some basic function in an unusual, innovative way (for example, makes hot chocolate, wakes a sleeping student).
Interactive Learning Exhibits - Your team designs and fabricates a learning exhibit to educate the audience about a scientific or engineering concept or demonstrate intriguing physical phenomena.
Appropriate Technological Systems for the Developing World - Your team creates, designs and constructs appropriate technology and learns about technology being introduced in small-scale community developments to solve water, sanitation, energy and health problems in developing countries.
Assistive Technology - ATech is the application of technology to assist people with disabilities. Your team meets with a client to define the scope of a project, and then designs and creates a specific ATech project to better the life of a person in the community who has a disability.
Lego® Robots - Using skills developed in the course, your team designs and constructs a simple, autonomous robot assembled from Legos®, surplus motors and sensors, and a computer controller built and programmed by the team. At semester-end, you enter your robot in a skills competition.
Fun with Fluids - These projects entail designing and building kinetic exhibits exploiting one or more fluid properties. Project themes may include: water/air quality, pumping, distillation, filtering, buoyancy, pressure, turbines, energy, cooling, heating, power, etc.
Battle Bots - Your team designs and builds robotic devices that compete to perform a specific task. The competition is similar to the Battle Bots seen on television. You are given a fixed set of materials from which you can build, so innovative use of materials is essential.
Leonardo da Vinci: The Engineer - You explore Leonardo da Vinci's s notebooks and engineering techniques, and investigate the way his engineering affected his work as an artist. You use modern-day CAD software and fabrication tools to create working models of Leonardo's designs.
Engineering and Environment - Your teams will design projects that are engineering solutions to environmental problems. The problems can include water and air pollution, energy use, recycling, solid wastes, resource depletion, ecological impacts and land use, sustainability, and green engineering.